One crisp, snowy, Colorado morning many years ago I was driving my children to the school bus stop, which was located along the steep, windy road leading from our house. It was cold and icy. Although I was driving carefully, as I navigated the first curve, my car began to slide sideways into the oncoming lane. Being accustomed to the snow, I was doing my best to adjust. When I looked ahead, I noticed a school bus coming up the hill.
I slammed on the brakes while frantically turning the steering wheel, both of which had no effect on my trajectory. As the bus got closer and I slid further into the oncoming path, I couldn’t watch. I closed my eyes, told the kids to hold tight, and prayed a simple prayer, “Jesus, please help me!” I waited for the crash for what seemed like minutes, but felt nothing. I opened my eyes to find my car stopped sideways in the center of the road. The bus had passed unimpeded and was continuing up the hill just a few yards from my car. I have no idea how that was possible. I couldn’t begin to explain what happened. I only know somehow, God answered my prayer.
Scripture makes it clear that prayer is intricately linked to the Christian life. (According to the Bible Hub, it is referenced over 400 times.) Our Savior taught us how to pray and demonstrated the power that lies therein. We learn from scripture that we are ushered into the Kingdom through prayer, that prayer changes us and keeps our minds focused on His will, that it’s essential for evangelizing, and that it actually affects the spiritual realm. If that’s not enough, it is also fundamental to joy. Spurgeon once said, “Holy joy and prayer act and react upon one another.”
So, prayer is essential for Christians. I understand the reasons for and the benefits of prayer. More importantly I’ve experienced the power of prayer. And yet, sometimes I struggle; I don’t pray often enough or I forget to pray. I have vowed to pray every day for my granddaughters aged 2 and 5. I have a long list of things I want for them. But sometimes, I forget. I’m too tired at the end of the day or I’m too wrapped up in the physical world to remember the spiritual.
James 5:16 states, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” That’s the ticket! My righteousness is in Christ, so that part of the equation is covered. But how do I pray fervently? Fervent means hot, glowing, boiling, zealous, and not slothful. It’s easy to pray fervently when you’re about to crash your car! The challenge is remaining zealous in prayer when life is mundane.
Some have suggested keeping a prayer journal to track answered prayer. I wish I had started that many years ago. Not because I need convincing that God responds to prayer, but because I just don’t want to forget or become complacent about what He has done for me.
Lord, help me be vigilant in prayer. I want to make a difference in this world for You and I know the winning ticket is prayer.